How Can You Help Spread the Word?

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March 30, 2018

Hi, so many are asking how they can help spread the word that I am running for the House Vacancy for the 68th District of Pennsylvania

and many are asking will I take out full page advertisements and really wow campaign websites now that the Republican GOP has put their collective dollars behind their preferred candidate without even a tally ho to me?

My response is this: Feel free to share my message as a friend of agriculture but I am not accepting campaign donations at this time. I did not enter this race to ask for advertising dollars. I will debate and defend and promote why I am the most qualified candidate for this role at this point in time for our state. I don’t need to broadcast my faith, my virtue or my family values to win your vote. I am who I am because of agriculture and it is because of agriculture that I am called to public service. Farmers are deeply devoted to their way of life. So am I. Agriculture and rural Pennsylvania needs my voice and I want to help.

If you want to make this dairy crisis matter, spread the word and invite me to speak. You can also hire me professionally as an agriculture consultant or speaker, farm manager, invasive species specialist, educational instructor or writer. Just call me at 814-574-4067. I did not quit my business just so I can advocate for agriculture but I did impact my freelance income substantially by running, as it is a conflict of interest for me to write for them I have been informed. So I won’t be writing for the Pennsylvania media outlets where you’ve seen my unbiased and fact filled articles appear until the election is over.

November is a long way away. But how many dairy producers will be out of business by then? Gone from the landscape? I am trying to save their way of life and my own. Share that I care, share that this matters!

Agriculture consulting is what I do for a living and it is my career that is in jeopardy, this is personal. Just like the farmers I represent feel it is personal. I am but one impacted by this failure to make Dairy Matter in Pennsylvania and in the decades that have come and are to come we have a lot of work to do to reinvest in this part of the region. We do live here. We care! I care!

The dairy collapse is an ongoing reality for hundreds of thousands of people in this state, not just our district. We are not being paid a survivable wage for the fruit of our labor, no matter if it is dairy, beef, maple, or vegetables. Farm businesses are not sole proprietor employers, this agriculture economic collapse is going to effect everyone who relies on that cash to pay their bills. The loss of jobs and the lack of concern from our elected officials that Pennsylvania has abandoned its role in promoting and marketing Pennsylvania Agriculture goods should be taken into consideration in this election.

If you want to see things change, spread the word on how to spell my name. I can and will make a difference as your elected official.

Of course their are other issues and I will address those as well. But this is the one that impacts all the others. Open your refrigerator and stare inside a moment and just think on that. Look at the milk label. Look at the butter label. Look at the eggs. Look at the hamburger, pork and chicken labels. You will see for yourself that we are not supporting our number one industry in any shape or form and we can do better. I want to do better.

This what I do best: I think, I research, I find solutions and I work with others to make it happen. Soil quality, water quality (cows drink water too) and human health area all tied to agriculture. Farmers work with the land and life off the land and the health of their immune system shows it! Farmers are skilled craftsmen and masters of their craft. Why don’t we respect; take pride in; and protect a way of life that the vast majority can no longer do?

Sincerely, Ms. Melissa Bravo, M.S. Agronomist, Meadow Lake Farm Consulting Services 814-574-4067 / bravomelissa@yahoo.com

Trucking assistance needed to keep dairies going. If you can help call!

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Mar 19 at 11:53 AM

Good Morning,

I am president of Progressive Dairyman co-op based out of Bradford and Tioga Counties.Our mother co-op is United AG in Seneca Falls, Ny. We were released from our contracts the end of February by DFA. In the 6 months prior, we searched for a market. We did find one with Saputo in Delhi Ny. However, we have been slammed with an extraordinary high cost to ship our milk to the plant, almost $3/100lbs. This will cause most of my farm’s hauling to triple and quadruple. This combined with the record low prices may be the end to many of my farms.

I also recently spent some time in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties with some of the Dean/Swiss shippers, as we have room for their milk in our contract but again the hauling is causing issues. Their hauling would also triple to be able to ship milk with us.

I was hoping there would be something that your office may be able help with when it comes to hauling. Even a small subsidy for a year until the milk market turns again would be helpful.

Please let me know. I would love to help some of these Dean/Swiss shippers and my co-op members to not lose their farms.

Thank you,
Abbey Campbell
President of Progressive Dairyman Co-op
Vice President of United AG
15357 Route 467
Stevensville, PA 18845
570-744-1057 House
570-744-1004 Barn

Dairy groups have been urging Congress to act for months now….

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Progressive Agriculture Organization

1300 Rattlesnake Hill Road, Meshoppen, PA 18630 570-833-5776 progressiveagricultureorg@gmail.com

PROGRESSIVE AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION EMERGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC DISASTER DESTROYING DAIRY FARMERS

January 19, 2018

There are certain things that Congress and the USDA can and must do.

1) Congress could and should peg the Class I price in all Federal Orders at least at $20 per cwt.(hundred pounds).

2) An alternate to number one, would be for Congress to place a floor price under all milk used to manufacture dairy products. This could be done in two increments, and reach $20 per cwt.

3) The USDA should and must call a national milk hearing and give the dairy farmers a chance to testify for a new federal milk pricing formula that will include farmers’ cost of production like all businesses are permitted to do in pricing their products and services.

4) Sooner, not later, the industry must give credence to a reasonable milk supply management program that is fair to everyone, in the event that there is any overproduction of milk.

5) Members of Congress and the USDA must answer the question, “Why does the Federal Milk Marketing Orders Formula allow a “make allowance” (nearly $2 per cwt.) to be credited to milk handlers when they convert milk into dairy products, but neither the USDA nor Congress will listen to a cost of production formula for dairy farmers?” Isn’t this a double standard, with dairy farmers being on the short end of the stick again. The “make allowance” needs to be eliminated immediately because Congress ended the DPPSP in the 2014 Farm Bill, shorting dairy farmers about $2 per cwt. in all milk they have sold since then. That is a huge income shortfall for dairy farmers struggling to pay their bills because of Congress’s action in the 2014 Farm Bill.

6) Advertising and promoting milk: Neither of the two major political parties has been fair to American dairy farmers. The past administration did harm to our dairy farmers by developing unwise standards for our school lunch program. The present school lunch program is ruining future milk drinkers by not having good tasting whole milk that is the best choice for students’ health. All dairy farmers must immediately confer with members of Congress and the current administration to correct the inequities in the school lunch program and allow whole milk, both white and flavored, to be offered to students.

7) Public hearings must be held to investigate the effect the continued use of protein products derived from milk, including casein, milk protein concentrate (MPC), ultra-filtered milk, etc. have had on the farm price for milk and the price consumers are paying for milk and dairy products and to determine safety and nutritional impacts of these proteins on human health.

Do you need a reason to do the above? The reason is that the milk you produce in December and January will go way below $17 per cwt. It’s time to get with it.

Remember: Dairy farmers do not want a government hand-out; they want a fair price from the marketplace.

Pro-Ag can be reached at 570-833-5776.

I cry because I’m scared for our future….

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Kalyn Renninger is at Kish Valley Dairy Sales & Buying Station.
March 7 at 9:23pm · Belleville, PA ·

I don’t ever really get personal on here, and I’m sorry this is so long, but today I broke down and cried… no, not because I had a bad day, or because someone said mean things. I got home from work, and like any other day, I got on Facebook and started scrolling. As I did, my heart began to sink. Friend after friend started changing their profile picture frames to “I support dairy farmers”. And every couple posts I see news articles about suicide prevention for dairy farmers. I cried because this is something so special and something so close to my heart. Dairy farming is my entire world. That’s my passion. That’s what I love. That’s me. I cry because my family is a victim of this country failing our dairy farmers. I cry because I lived through the pain of losing MY farm and cows. And now I’m seeing it happen to the rest of the dairy farming community.

December 11, 2015 – the worst day of my entire life. My dreams of raising/breeding show cows? GONE. My dreams of taking over my family farm someday? GONE. My dreams of having a family and rising my future kids on my dairy farm? GONE. My entire world that day…. GONE. On that foggy, rainy, dreary day, we sold all 90 of our cows. The night before, we had family and friends over for the final milking to help out. As truck and trailers pulled into our driveway, to load the cows my heart broke into a million pieces. Imagine walking your favorite cow onto a trailer, knowing that you weren’t going to a show, shaking and crying uncontrollably. Now imagine loading all 90 of them in the same night. When that milk pump shut off for the final time, my dad and I hugged each other for what felt like hours. Crying and sobbing. The day of the sale, I gave a speech, and I couldn’t even get through the first sentence without getting a lump in my throat. We came home to an empty barn. Nothing left but each other. And that next week, we sold the house and barn that my brothers and I were raised in. Within the next month, we moved into our new house. We had to adjust to a new life. I cannot even begin to explain how bad my family hurt. And the sad truth is, we still hurt every single day.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to turn our dairy industry around… I quite honestly don’t know if it will ever turn around. But what I’m asking my friends and family to do, is PLEASE pray for our country’s dairy industry. Please pray for these farmers who struggle each day they wake up. Please pray that these suicide rates go down, as farmers are on the top of the highest suicide rate list. Please pray for comfort for the families dealing with this. It is not easy. I’m writing this post so my non-farming friends can understand the pain we’re all going though. This is real life. This is the raw truth. Small family farms are shutting down. You should be scared and worried. (See my last shared post to find out how you can try to help the dairy industry.)

To my fellow dairy farmers, it will be ok. There is life after dairy farming. It will be the hardest thing you ever go through, but always remember Dr. Seuss once said, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. Not everyone gets the opportunity to grow up and live on a dairy farm, but you did…. appreciate it. If you’re still farming, take in every little thing you can… Don’t complain about milking the cows, or being out late and not eating supper on time. Take your kids to that show they so desperately wanna go to. Take pictures, pet your cows. Go on walks around your farm, take in the beauty of what it has to offer… because someday, it may be gone within a blink of an eye. You want memories…. because that’s all I have now, and all I can do is drive by and let those memories flood my mind.

I will ALWAYS fully support the dairy industry, because it has given so much to me. I am beyond grateful. I love you all and will forever stand by your side through this. #SupportDairyFarmers #PrayForTheDairyIndustry

More thoughts on the dairy crisis from around the region…

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Message from Richard Sayer: “This is an open post feel free to share it. Thank you for asking. I am a photojournalist with the Derrick. and News-Herald newspapers in Franklin and Oil City Pennsylvania and this post below was posted on my personal Face Book. I do this to add another layer to story telling and give perspective on the news gathering process. This isn’t a news story as much as it is personal observations and reflections”.

Richard Sayer/DerrickPhotographerhttps://www.facebook.com/Richard-SayerDerrickPhotographer-
March 8 at 8:16pm ·

Yesterday morning I woke to see several posts by friends about milk and dairy farming. Enough to realize something was up. I asked a couple questions and learned about a recent price drop in milk and that several farmers were being told that their usual processor would no longer be needing or buying their milk after May 31. I learned that Wal-Mart built a giant plant in the midwest and that is why several local farmers now have to decide whether or not they can survive, and that they haven’t even been making enough to cover the costs of their farms over the last several years. I have also learned a lot more. That over a grand each month is needed on items such as cleaning supplies, salves for the cows teets, gloves etc… That large animal veterinarians are few and far between, that so many other businesses are supported by farmers who need their products to run a farm and that farmers work really hard, long hours. And I learned that if no one buys a farmer’s milk, they still have to milk the cows because they don’t stop producing milk just because no one is buying. The cow doesn’t care that the farmer can’t sell it. And they have to dump it. I have learned so much in the last couple days there is no way I could do their stories justice. This would take 10 stories, 20 stories, more, just to scratch the surface. An initiative to try to curb childhood obesity has hurt the dairy farmer and there are differing opinions on this topic. Schools don’t serve whole milk and I learned that kids don’t like the taste of the lowfat milk and therefor don’t drink it. So school demand has decreased. And once they are out of the habit of milk, they aren’t deciding to drink it later in life(This sounds exactly like the newspaper business–we lost at least one generation of readers already, probably two and we may never get them back). We take things like cheaper milk for granted and think its a good thing, and it is for us consumers, but if the cost of living keeps going up, and it does, but milk prices don’t, the farmer is the one who takes the hit. Not the big milk companies or Wal-Mart, but the farmer. I’m no expert on this, though I think I’ve chatted with a few people who probably are in the last two days, but it seems to me that we keep cutting the little people out and we’re narrowing our possibilities of making a living down to too few to sustain the number of people we have. And that is a shame. This man I met today reminded me of myself. He truly feels blessed to be doing what he loves, but is seeing the rug being taken out from under him. I have a feeling we’ll be visiting dairy farms a lot in the coming months/years and telling sad stories. I hope I’m wrong.

Campaign Questions from the PA Assoc. of Realtors

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I met with the PA Association of Realtors this week to discuss my candidacy for the 68th District. Here are a few of the questions asked and the response I typed up before hand.

What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the PA General Assembly?
A. A. I intend to focus on reviewing, revising and revamping land use rules, statutes, and regulations that dictate the policies government officials implement. The disconnect between Harrisburg and rural Pennsylvania is immense when it comes to common sense understanding of how the rural engine works when Mother Nature is in the driver’s seat. There is a natural cycle to the ebb and flow of commerce, human activity and nature that is difficult to see from inside the concrete jungle. Fixed, unyielding, burdensome and complicated legalize only hinders our ability to respond to the depressive economic crisis on our doorstep. We have to reinvest in our rural communities and I will dedicate my time in office to seeing manufacturing and processing of local agriculture goods return to the rural highways and byways of this great state.

What do you think are the major problems facing the Commonwealth and your legislative district?
A. 1. Lack of manufacturing and processing jobs to generate income above the poverty level. The dairy crisis is just one commodity that we have failed to protect and failed to market. We as a state import and consume out of state goods to such an extent that we have crippled our local economies which in turn cripple the government’s ability to generate revenue. 85% of the food, fiber and other agriculture commodities consumed and used in state funded institutions should be grown in the state and a significant percentage of that within the legislative district of the institution. We do not even have a bench mark in place to obtain that goal and I intend to address that deficit.
2. Declining utility infrastructure and escalating reliance on internet is creating isolationism. Everyone is going to the fee based billing system and we are all going broke, the government included.
3. Local T.V. news and newspapers affordability is a huge financial hurdle for rural areas. I would like to bring communication hub centers to my district.
4. Land use knowledge and homestead knowledge is declining at a rapid rate. We have failed to educate students becoming adults on the basic essentials of home ownership and repair. A single person cannot purchase a four bedroom home and be expected to maintain it. But a group of students could and I think we have neglected to teach students and young adults how to live together. The necessity of renting should not be an excuse to devalue someone else’s investment and at the same time, rental units and rates should not devalue any person’s socio-economic status. Taking pride in where you live is essential to a strong local economy.
5. Rural crime and exploitation of the older citizens of rural areas has an inverse relationship to the factors listed above. The opioid crisis in our area is an epidemic. Epidemics of health and abject poverty are signs of a significant depression. Blaming the pharmaceutical industry is not going to shift the economic downturn in our region. We have to do that ourselves and we have to do it by building small manufacturing and processing plants. We can make glass to bottle syrup. We can process snapbeans and cabbage. We can build wood products. We can revitalize our farms and homesteads with local lumber. The possibilities are endless…

What do you think are the three biggest issues impacting homeownership in your district?
a. Income to debt ratio
b. Job stability
c. Credit, criminal record
d. Cost of ownership

Can you provide some general details on your campaign strategies and activities – in short, how you plan to win this race?
A. My campaign strategies are to advocate for the right to farm profitably and sustainably. I am a go to person and I intend to keep going to the voters and pledging my desire to serve in this position. They in turn are sharing with me their needs and expectations. I plan to win this race through perseverance and determination. I have the experience, knowledge and ability to represent the residents of Tioga, Bradford and Potter County in Harrisburg. Someone has to take the lead on the economic crisis here and I am willing to do that for these farming folks. I, we cannot survive without them.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss these important issues. If you the reader has any suggestions or concerns on homeownership, property assessment and realty transfer taxes please give the PA Association of Realtors a call at (717) 561-1303. These are local folks working together for you, reach out and tell them what you need and let me know what I can do as your representative to make owning a home in our district a rewarding life time investment. >

Imagine if on March 10, 2018 the senate and assembly resolved…

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On March 10, 1932, the senate and assembly resolved

“That a joint Legislative committee is hereby created . . . to investigate the causes of the decline of the price of milk to producers and the resultant effect of the low prices upon the dairy industry and the future supply of milk to the cities of the State; to investigate the cost of distribution of milk and its relation to prices paid to milk producers, to the end that the consumer may be assured of an adequate supply of milk at a reasonable price, both to producer and consumer.”

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/291/502/case.html

Farmers sharing the impact of termination letters from Dean Foods

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My dear friends, you have seen the posts for months now on low Milk prices for the Dairy farmer. Now, Dean Foods has sent termination letters to more than 140 farms saying their milk is no longer needed. Those 140 farms are family farms, farms that have passed down the heritage of cow care and land stewardship for generations. Thanks to Wal-Mart, the farms that have received termination letters will now face the most ruinous moment possible, as there are no other Milk companies able to purchase more milk, the value of cattle has plummeted, and there are whole herds being sent to slaughter thanks to the Wal-Mart mentality and mega Dairy farms. Has it ever occurred to those in the corporate office that the termination letters they have sent out will not only eliminate a way of life, but also bankrupt those who have been holding on through two years of the lowest Milk prices seen since the 1980s? They will be forced to sell their herd at a minute fraction of what the herd should be worth, a herd that is knit into the heart and soul of every farmer by the years, the decades of delivering the next generation of babies and lovingly raising them up to the point that you have been an integral part of these creatures lives for 8, 9, 10 generations of a cow family or more. Wal-Mart, we will boycott you, we will seek out other places, we will walk past your brand of dairy products and not bat an eye because those products meant the devastation of families. My friends, please buy Marburger, Pot O Gold, and other Milk from local farmers, or check where a gallon of milk was from by jumping into whereismymilkfrom.com (it’s a simple and easy way to see where a bottle of milk is from while you are perusing Milk options in a store). But please, we ask you please don’t buy Great Value. Tell Wal-Mart that you value small family farms, that you value having little feed mills, vet clinics, and little local family business. If someone doesn’t value us, the small family farm will soon be extinct… Michelle Morian, https://www.facebook.com/MishRoHolsteinsandJerseys/